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a call for donations to train guide dogs – Insurance for Pets

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The Aliénor association, based in Mérignac, is appealing for donations to finance the education of guide dogs, given free of charge to visually impaired beneficiaries.

Sidewalks, a roadway, pedestrian crossings, steps … At almost three months old, Sid, a lively young Labrador, is gradually learning to deal with all the urban obstacles. He is in no danger: it is located on the training ground of the guide dog school of the Aliénor association, in Mérignac.
It is here that Sid will learn, for several months, to guide the visually impaired people, and to adapt in all situations.
An apprenticeship that takes place within the School, but also in his host family.

This family is Christèle Chardron. For the past two weeks, Sid has found refuge with this training manager in an engineering school. A first for this animal lover.
A task for her to raise him, train him, socialize him, and familiarize him with all types of situation.

« It’s an attention at all times, it’s very engaging, tiring but very rewarding and interesting, she believes. We learn about ourselves, we are also made aware of the problems encountered by people with disabilities. You also learn to manage your puppy at work, in everyday life … « 

Christèle, a volunteer, is supported by the educators who help her raise Sid. The apprenticeship is long: it begins To two months in the foster family, continues in school and ends when the dog is handed over to a beneficiary, on average at the age of two years.

« The objective of learning in a foster family is that we have a companion dog, which is calm in the house, which is clean and at ease in all environments », explains Aurore Antoine, a student educator at the Aliénor school.
« Ensuite, we start pre-education, with the first work apprenticeships: a dog must be able to walk on a leash without pulling, without picking up what is in the street, without being attracted to birds « , she continues.

During this phase, the dog returns every weekend to its foster family. The real guiding work does not begin until the age of 12 months.

If the Aliénor school currently trains around 40 dogs, not all of them will necessarily be guaranteed to be handed over to a beneficiary.

« You can’t keep dogs with health problems. It can become too complicated for a visually impaired person to handle. We also make a selection with dogs who are afraid, who are unable to remain alone, or who have behavioral problems « , recognizes Aurore Antoine.

Those that we cannot keep, we will put them back for adoption, because they can be very good companion dogs. But it’s true that you need almost perfect dogs to be guide dogs.

Aurore Antoine, student educator Aliénor school

France 3 Aquitaine

Each dog is given free of charge to a visually impaired beneficiary. But learning is expensive: 25,000 euros per dog. A significant amount, which includes education, follow-up for ten years, sterilization, veterinary care … This is why the association, which gives back about 20 dogs per years, organized this December 4, an open day, to raise public awareness of its action, but also to collect donations.

« There are 1,600 guide dogs in activity in France, while potentially 200,000 people could have one « , highlighted Pascale Olivar, the president of the Aliénor guide dog school association. Herself visually impaired, she was able to benefit from a guide dog. « It changed my life. I got out of prison. Without having committed an offense, I was nevertheless locked up at home between four walls, not to be able to leave « .

This dog gave me freedom, autonomy, the social bond that we don’t have. When you’re blind, you don’t have eye contact with people. The dog breaks down all these barriers, and brings us out of his isolation. 25,000 euros is a lot for a dog, but it is nothing compared to all that they bring to a visually impaired person.

Pascale Olivar, president of the Aliénor guide dog school association

France 3 Aquitaine

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the school of Aliénor can do so in a few clicks on their dedicated page.

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